Flash Player 9 for Linux Beta 1
To quote someone well known, 'hell froze over' and we finally released a beta of the GNU/Linux version of the Adobe Flash Player 9 (look for the "Linux version" download link). It did take more to get to this point than you might expect. And no, Mike is not the only engineer working on it. Currently I count 6 engineers working on the GNU/Linux platform, even more have GNU/Linux boxen and/or VMWare images now. And there is still a lot of work left to do before I consider this penguin version not a beta anymore.
Now is this beta version bug free? By no means. Will it install and fully work your specific distro? There is a good chance it will not, although I have tried a good dozen of distributions. Do not walk away frustrated, instead submit as many bugs reports as you can. And no, the feedback page is not a black hole. We collect all feedback, enter it in our bug database and then prioritize it.
There are various things I am not quite happy about in the current version. We'll address these things over time. On my plate for research right now (and not in the beta 1 version) is Xembed support which should yield much better integration into the desktop environment and numerous other advantages.
What I am happy about is performance. This is the fastest GNU/Linux version we ever released. And we haven't reached the maximum yet. While annoying on my part since I had to deal with some rather mechanical conversion from Intel to AT&T assembly notation, it was really worth it. Even better, we will use the same code on OS X to get a completely relocatable binary, something Apple does not offer if you use MS style inline assembly, although this was a big new feature promoted by them to allow easy porting. In some cases though the GNU/Linux version is still way behind the Windows 32bit version (device text rendering performance which is using FreeType f.ex.), but in some cases the GNU/Linux version is up to 20% faster on the same hardware compared to the Windows 32bit version. It will be interesting to see what kind of benchmarks people will come up with. I will try to get this as good as it can get for the final release and so will everyone else on the team.
What about 64bit? There is no Windows 64bit or OS X 64bit version either right now. As I said before it is not a question of 'recompiling' the source code, there is lots of generic non platform specific work which needs to be finished first. We will ship a 64bit version for Windows, OS X Leopard and GNU/Linux. It will happen. When? ... When it is ready.